Coke to defend safety of aspartame in new ad

August 13, 2013 by Candice Choi

Coca-Cola plans to run its first ad defending the safety of artificial sweeteners on Wednesday, a move that comes as the company looks to stem declining sales of diet soda.

The print ad is set to run in USA Today in the Atlanta area, followed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday and the Chicago Tribune next week. It says that can help people manage their weight and stresses the scientific evidence showing the safety of aspartame, which is more commonly known under the NutraSweet brand name.

The ad represents the next phase of a campaign Coca-Cola Co. launched in January to push back at critics who blame its for fueling . The first wave of ads outlined the company's commitment to fighting obesity and pointed to the many diet options it offers. Now Coca-Cola is trying to reassure people that those lower-calorie drinks aren't harmful.

"Coke is trying to get out front and proactively defend these diet sweeteners," said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, which tracks the industry.

The fading popularity of in the U.S. has been a long-running trend, given worries that the sugary fizz makes people fat. But more recently, people have been pulling back on as well, signaling that concerns about soda go beyond just weight gain.

In fact, sales of diet sodas are falling at a faster rate than regular sodas in the U.S., according to Beverage Digest. Last year, for example, sales volume for Coke fell 1 percent, while Diet Coke fell 3 percent. Pepsi fell 3.4 percent, while Diet Pepsi fell 6.2 percent.

The declines come even though the Food and Drug Administration says aspartame may be safely used in foods as a sweetener, and the ingredient can be found in a wide array of other type of drinks and foods. The American Cancer Society also notes that most studies using people have found that aspartame is not linked to an increased risk of cancer, including the largest study on the topic.

In a nod to the various concerns over artificial sweeteners, Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo Inc. are also working to come up with a drink that uses natural, low-calorie sweeteners.

This summer, Coca-Cola rolled out a version of its namesake soda sweetened with stevia in Argentina, a smaller market where it can better gauge how the drink performs. Stevia comes from a plant of the same name.

Notably, Coca-Cola's ad softpedals the fact that it is about artificial sweeteners, a sign that the company wants to be cautious about a sensitive topic. The ad features a picture of two women under the heading "Quality products you can always feel good about," with several paragraphs of text underneath. "Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar," it states.

Caren Pasquale Seckler, vice president of social commitment at Coca-Cola, said the goal is to clear up the confusion around diet sweeteners. She said the company will gauge the response in Atlanta and Chicago before expanding the push.

Explore further: Coca-Cola puts new sweetener in U.K. Sprite

Related Stories

Coca-Cola puts new sweetener in U.K. Sprite

March 6, 2013
It's about to get difficult finding a can of regular Sprite in the United Kingdom.

Coke takes anti-obesity campaign global

May 8, 2013
(AP)—Coca-Cola says it will work to make lower-calorie drinks and clear nutrition information more widely available around the world, intensifying a push against critics who say its drinks pack on the pounds.

Coca-Cola to address obesity for first time in ads (Update)

January 14, 2013
Coca-Cola became one of the world's most powerful brands by equating its soft drinks with happiness. Now, for the first time, it's addressing a growing cloud over the industry: obesity.

The dark side of artificial sweeteners

July 10, 2013
More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated. An opinion article published by Cell Press on July 10th in the ...

Major medical groups back sweeteners as diet aid

July 9, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda, Equal and Sweet'N Low may have a role to play in maintaining or even losing weight, as long as people don't use them as an excuse to treat themselves later with high-calorie ...

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.